For those who are new to grinding their own coffee or those just looking to improve their craft, we’ve laid out everything you need to know in our complete coffee grind guide.
One of the most important steps in making a great cup of coffee is the grind. Grinding too fine or too coarse has a huge impact on the flavour in the cup and can turn a roast that’s bold and rich into a brew that's overly acidic or bitter. While it’s simple enough to just buy pre-ground coffee, it’s hard to argue the fact that coffee is always at its best when freshly ground.
Coffee is like most perishable food items in the way that exposure to oxygen is bad and speeds up the oxidation process. Roast coffee beans will go through this process naturally over time and with every moment that passes your coffee is being exposed to more oxygen and degrading in quality over time. However, when we grind coffee, we open more surface area of the bean to the oxidation effects and speed up the process, releasing all the C02 gasses inside that have been created during roasting. It’s these gasses that account for the amazing aromas we get with a batch of freshly roasted or freshly ground coffee beans.
If you compare freshly ground coffee to beans that were ground even just a few hours ago the difference will be stark. Your coffee has travelled a long way to get to this point so you may as well treat it right, which is why grinding fresh is most definitely best.
If you don’t have the time or the tools to grind your coffee fresh, or if you just prefer the convenience that comes with pre-ground coffee, this isn’t as big a taboo as some would make it out to be, but we always recommend a little and often approach to buying coffee. Making sure you’re only getting enough to last a week or two and constantly topping up with a fresh roast.
All coffees in our lineup are roasted, ground, packed and dispatched the same day to ensure minimal time between when the coffee is freshest and the time it takes to make it to your door. However, as soon as you break that bag seal your coffee has far more chances of exposure to oxygen, moisture, CO2 depletion and potential contamination, all of which can affect flavour and freshness, particularly with the increased surface area that comes with ground coffee. These factors can all be reduced with proper storage but if you’re a real stickler for getting the best flavour out of your brews, then the safest bet is to invest in a grinder for home and stick whole beans.
When it comes to brewing coffee, each method requires different sizes of coffee grounds to maximise flavor and ensure a good extraction. Grind size can range from super fine talcum powder for commercial espresso machines, all the way to larger granules of rock salt for plunger. To simplify the process, we’ve created our Allpress Coffee Grind Chart to give you the guidance you need to achieve the perfect grind for your home brew method.
Espresso grind sits at the top end of our grind scale & the texture you should be aiming for here is as fine as possible, think flour or talcum powder. The espresso brew method is fast and high pressured, so a very fine grind is critical to the success of your flavour extraction. For those without a commercial or high-grade espresso machine, you may have to aim for something slightly coarser to match the pressure output of your machine and achieve a good extraction. Grinds that are too fine can pack together in the basket of your machine, clogging the mesh and impacting the flow of water. The result of this can be some cups ending up bitter and ashy, while others taste sour or weak. If you are shopping for pre-ground espresso online, it's important to know your machine and whether the coffee is pre-ground for commercial or home espresso.
While we do have espresso options available on our website, we recommend that if you are using this grind that you opt for smaller quantities and more frequent purchases to ensure the best flavour from your brews. The truth is the flavour of your coffee will begin to drop off within a few minutes of grinding. The ideal shelf life for ground espresso is 7-10 days max if your coffee is stored well in an airtight container, after which the flavour will dull, and you may have to adjust your dose and brew ratio for a good result.
Whether you’re brewing with a V60 or a Kalita Wave filter, this method requires a grind that is finer than sand but slightly coarser than espresso (think table salt). In some instances, a larger batch may require something a little more course. A good way to judge is that if your coffee is coming out consistently thin or weak, try a finer grind; if your brew is consistently bitter, or brothy, try a coarser approach. Coffee that has been ground for filter will usually maintain freshness and optimum flavour for around 2 weeks.
The AeroPress brew method is unique in that your grind target can range anywhere from quite fine (think caster sugar or table salt) all the way down to fairly coarse (breadcrumbs) depending on your preference. The AeroPress is super versatile and can brew with finely ground coffee, stirred, and plunged after 30-40 seconds; or with coarsely ground coffee, steeped for around 3 minutes. It really is the brewer’s choice on this one.
When it comes to Chemex the best texture to aim for is something a little coarser than table salt. This is largely due to Chemex filter papers typically being thicker than your standard V60 or Kalita cone filter as well as the depth of the coffee bed which tends to slow down the extraction. Like most ground coffee, Chemex grind will maintain its flavour profile for around 2 weeks in an airtight container, at which stage the sweetness and complexity of the roast can start to drop off.
MoccaMaster sits further down on our grind scale and if this is your selected brew method, you’re going to want to aim for a grind that is fairly coarse (think rock salt or breadcrumbs). Your typical MoccaMaster will take approx. 5 minutes to brew, during which time the machine has a constant flow of water. As a result, there is a lot of contact time between the water and the coffee grounds. If you find that your MoccaMaster basket is overflowing, you’re using a grind that is too fine.
Plunger grind also sits at the bottom end of our scale and for this particular brew method, you’ll be aiming for a similar grind to MoccaMaster - somewhere between rock salt and breadcrumbs. Typically, plunger coffee involves a fairly long brew time (4-5+ minutes) so the grind you’re using should be relatively coarse to avoid over-extraction. At the coarse end of the grind scale, we would still recommend that ground coffee be used within two weeks for best flavour results.
When it comes to grinding and brewing coffee our grind chart is just here for guidance to give you a starting point. Different grinders may give you different results and the best approach is always to experiment using the tools you have available until you find the perfect grind size to give you a balanced result and that peak flavour experience.